Everything in DFC need to be planned. Of course most plans crumble as soon as opponent makes his first move but having broad plans and contingences for various opponent’s plays is advised. This starts with list building, where each battlegroup needs to function coherently, without problems like the need for different special orders or different timing of activations (more on that later on), and ends on tabletop where you need to have broad idea where the ships need to be and when. This is especially valid concern for larger, slower ships, as these can have hard time reaching different parts of the board in time if the urgent need would arise and even one turn (after the first) on Max Thrust order can really lower you fleets firepower.
Every ship moves. It might be obvious but it is very important to keep that in mind. With only a single special order enabling being stationary (and limiting firepower in many cases) it is quite easy to outmanoeuvre your opponent if he forgets about that. This is especially exploitable in case of ships that need to go Weapons Free and have limited firing arcs (like many Scourge ships which can focus fire only in Front arc). Instead of staying a bit back a headlong charge (or rather pass, as it is better use both range and arcs to your advantage) may make retaliation with Weapons Free order impossible.
Turning is hard. 45° turn on most orders and 90° turn on one order that severely limits most ships damage output is very limiting. With carefully placed UCMS Carnifex (usually Madrid class) you can shut down one large ship for 2 turns as it would try to change bearing to something worth shooting. On the other hand this is something to keep in mind, especially while fielding BTL heavy list – it is often better not to shoot on target of opportunity but be able to shoot something in next two turns then shoot something now and not being able to do anything later in game.
This game is about drop. Getting boots on the ground is the point of the game and priority should be given to that as well as eliminating opponents drop capability. Of course defending your own drop capability would mean destroying opponent’s combat ships, but there is a need to keep that in mind to prioritize targets correctly. E.g. if your drop capability at a certain point of the game lies in the assets in the atmosphere that would have no reason to move to different places, opponent’s BTL ships can be left alone, as long as critical locations are of no concern.
Ships blow up. … so make that count. In Dropfleet there is a high chance of merry chain explosions that can decimate a fleet or two. You need to keep that in mind. If a ships blows up make it so that it is your opponent who would take loses. This not only means that there is a need of spreading the fleet, so explosion would not affect your other ships. It is also a very effective offensive tactic (especially in case of Tai-Peis).
Games are played for fun. I think this is the “mostest” important general rule here. This game have a mechanic that usually can be statistically controlled. But there are some crucial rolls using a single die like crippling table or ship explosions that can change the certain victory in utter defeat. But, to be honest, it’s a good thing, as it takes some pressure form the players. And usually these make best stories (I once lost my Moscow with 10 hull with admiral to San Francisco on Weapons Free order first with 2 critical hits and 2 failed saves and then a steak of damaging critical damage results that generated more critical damage – what can I say – it was epic!).
The space game set in the Commanderverse.
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